Extraordinary People: Local group uses the healing power of theater

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC-TV) - A local group is helping people with disabilities prove there are really no limitations through the healing power of music and the arts. 

Rehearsals are well under way for Artists Unlimited's 16th musical theater production, The Wizard of Oz. The non-profit gives people of all ages the opportunity to truly love the arts.

"It gave me my love for acting and this place is my second home," cast member Jordan Smith said. "They're all like family to me."

Every cast member who spoke with News 8 expressed similar feelings about Artists Unlimited. While all of the members have some sort of disability, when they're together they don't focus on that. 

"They love music," Kathy Miller, a member of Artists Unlimited's Board of Directors said. "They love performing. They have pushed the limited. They have found opportunities to try things they never thought they'd be able to do and feel the freedom of expression and shedding away some of the disabilities and the judgments that people that they maybe never could."

"It means a whole lot to me because I don't see too many places where people like this get a chance to perform on the stage," Smith said. "Knowing that they have so much skill and they can show that is heartwarming"

With the help of community donations, no cast member pays to participate. It's just a creative space where they can grow. They all agree there is no place like their artists unlimited home. 

"I think that it gives them a sense of belonging, a sense of accomplishment and goal setting and achievement," Miller said. "it's something they look forward to every single day of the year."

The show opens Nov. 3 at the Kodak Center Theater. Tickets are available for $12 in advance at Wegmans or $13 at the door. 

A fundraiser for Artists Unlimited, called Toast to the Show, takes place Thursday, Oct. 5. Click here for more information. 


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